October 27th, 2010 by Kevin
Ok we have a week left to go. Things are getting very interesting and at the same time very frustrating. A lead of 5 or 6 points can be eliminated overnite by a sensational news report of something stupid a candidate did. But in many cases the number of undecided voters is actually very low and these candidates are professionals. Actually what\’s most frustrating about this stage is that a lot of polling agencies (such as PPP) with well-documented biases (again PPP) play all sorts of silly demographic games to try to engineer the results they want to push their agenda, more on that below, but the point being it makes it hard to get a coherent picture of what\’s going on on the ground without actually being there?? So who\’s up for donating a few grand so I can go on a tour of the country….especially places like Florida and Hawaii??
No? Okay well instead let\’s take a look at where we stand with the US Senate elections. Notice I\’ve started moving more than a couple states into the safe categories….just not enough time for any fairy tale endings in some of these races. And I\’m implementing a self-imposed \”no-tossup\” rule….it\’s time to stop getting wishy-washy and \”man up\” as the parlance of our times goes. So let\’s get started….
First the safe states….no drama here, no reason to do more than list them. The safe Republican states include Alabama (R), Arizona (R), Arkansas (D), Georgia (R), Idaho (R), Indiana (D), Iowa (R), Kansas (R), Louisiana (R), North Carolina (R), North Dakota (D), Ohio (R), Oklahoma (R), South Carolina (R), South Dakota (R) and Utah (R). Remember, note the three Republican pickups right off the bat. Democrat\’s safe list is Connecticut (D), Delaware (D), Hawaii (D), Maryland (D), New York (D – Gillibrand), New York (D – Schumer), Oregon (D) and Vermont (D). Notice the conspicuous lack of Rs in that list.
California (D) – Ok polls show Boxer (D) pulling away from Fiorina (R) but the pollsters showing most of that are pollsters I\’ve learned to not trust unless their findings are supported by several more reputable agencies. So I\’m going to discount most of that. Besides, would Democrats like Dianne Feinstein be hitting the campaign trail for Boxer if she were really running away with it?? No. Actually the biggest factor here is entirely non-political. Fiorina has been hospitalized due to an infection as a result of post-breast-cancer surgery, although sounds like the cancer is still in remission (Get Well!). Okay what\’s the political impact?? Sure Fiorina is losing valuable time in the most critical phase but this has been a high profile race…does anyone really need to see Fiorina to know what she\’s about anymore??? I\’m thinking this may actually be a net-benefit as it eliminates the chance of a potential last minute gaffe and also probably gains her a few sympathy points. But I don\’t think it\’ll be enough. Leaning Democrat retention.
Washington (D) – Recent polls show Rossi (R) closing on Murray (D) again….and that\’s critical because there is another factor at work here that doesn\’t exist in most other states. Only in very few places to Washintonians actually go to a polling booth. Most send in their ballots by mail, so the fact that polls show Rossi closing just as most voters will be mailing in their ballots means something. And digging into the polls shows they may very likely be overstating Democrat support. I\’d love to move this back to toss-up, but I can\’t. Only my eeyorish nature is keeping me from going with Rossi here. I am fully prepared, and hoping, to be proven wrong here, but without a Herb Brooks-style motivational speech I\’m struggling to believe in miracles. Hope to take this prediction to \”my fucking grave\”. Leaning Democrat retention.
Illinois (D) – Yeah, I\’m rethinking that \”no toss-ups\” rule. This races hasn\’t been outside the margin of error in 8 months and that\’s not changing. Voters don\’t appear to like either candidate and that makes the race volatile. On the other hand, we\’re continuing to see a slight lead by Kirk(R) and some of the demographics are pretty encouraging for Republicans. Recent polls show progress by Kirk, which I\’d feel better about if there was a reason I can divine for it….I can\’t. I think I have to give Republicans this one…and it\’s a sweet seat to win. Leaning Republican takeover.
Nevada (D) – Remember when I said I was struggling to believe in miracles? Well I got over that and if you\’ll permit…..Dude! I think this is happening! Ok let\’s backtrack, this race is still tight and Reid (D) is no fool…well he is, but not at winning elections. Reid\’s support hasn\’t changed much, it\’s Angle\’s (R) that\’s gone up and done. Now she appears to have passed the \”Crazy\” test, mostly thanks to Reid\’s boneheaded move to debate her. Since then the trendline has been pretty solidly pro-Angle and there aren\’t many undecideds. Nevadans have disliked Reid for awhile and I think they\’ve finally decided it\’s time to take him behind the woodshed. Unless a third-party candidate or the None-of-the-Above option does really well, and there is nothing to even hint at that, I think we\’ll be looking forward to Senator Angle taking Reid\’s seat. Leaning Republican takeover.
West Virginia (D) – Once again the PPP polling agency it playing games with the numbers to try to force a outcome they like. Despite that, I think this race hasn\’t moved much and Raese (R) owns a slim lead over Manchin (D). Leaning Republican takeover.
Colorado (D) – Remember what I said last week about the impact of mistakes being amplified in these last few weeks? Well I give you exhibit A, Colorado. Buck (R) had a small but steady lead over Bennett (D). Now come reports that Buck refused to prosecute a rape case and a gaffe made during a debate. There isn\’t time to spin either one, the reset switch has been tripped and now it\’s all even again. Congrats Buck, you messed up and now it comes down to Get Out The Vote….which probably favors Buck. But I feel anything but comfortable calling this for Buck. Leaning Republican takeover.
Wisconsin (D) – Feingold\’s (D) support hasn\’t changed in almost a year, what has changed is Johnson\’s (R) support. Around mid-summer Johnson pulled ahead and hasn\’t looked back since. There is little reason to believe this will be anything other than a fairly comfortable win by the new Senator Johnson. Likely Republican takeover.
Pennsylvania (D) – Last time polls had tightened significantly, but I could see absolutely no reason for it so I assumed it was just a lapse of sanity by the pollsters. Just as I suspected, it appears pollsters like PPP we just messing around with their spreads to generate the results they wanted. Now other agencies are confirming my suspicions, this race hasn\’t budged. Likely Republican takeover.
Alaska (R) –It’s pretty tight between Miller (R) and Murkowski (I). But again, Murkowski is running a write-in campaign. Just don’t see it happening. Likely Republican retention.
Kentucky (R) – Conway (D) was closing on Paul (R) and then he decided to release his \”Aqua Buddha\” ad about some goofy stuff Rand Paul did in college. Now there is a time and a place to be a dumbass, and it\’s called college, and Kentuckians appear to agree, as suddenly Paul has a comfortable lead. It\’s not so much that Conway has lost support but Paul suddenly appears to have gained a bunch….who knew there were so many worshippers of Aqua Buddha?? All kidding aside, Conway overreached with that ad and this is now Paul\’s race. Likely Republican retention.
Missouri (R) – Blunt (R) is polling above 50% and Carnahan (D) isn\’t gaining. Likely Republican retention.
New Hampshire (R) – Not much has changed but not quite ready to call this safe. Likely Republican retention.
Florida (R) – Ok this is actually a safe seat now, but the only reason I don\’t list it above is so I can share this with you. Crist has absolutely lost it. What else to explain why you interrupt your opponent during a major debate so you can go off on a non sequitur rant, which not only make you look thin-skinned but also gives your opponent the chance to make you look like an inconsiderate boob?? This isn\’t a rookie politician, he\’s the current Governor of Florida. And what\’s with the \”Welcome to the NFL\” line at the end? What is that supposed to mean?? I mean besides the obvious meaning; \”I\’m fucking insane, look at me! Whhheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee….oops I wet myself\”. Safe Republican retention.
Okay so what’s the final score??
My past predictions were 49, 48, 48, 47, 47, 48 and 49 and now I\’m predicting 50. Heartbreak! That puts us one vote short of retaking the Senate, thanks to Gaffemaster Biden. And there are a couple seats in there I\’m not overly comfortable predicting for Republicans. In fact, both Illinois and Colorado scare me quite a bit. Save us Aqua Buddha!!! Still if there is a path to 51 for Republicans, it\’s the same as the one I described last week, and that\’s either Washington and California and in both of those, unlike last week, things are looking much better. Something as simple as bad weather could deliver either one to Republicans and then eureka, Senate Majority Leader DeMint! Be still my heart!
Still I am not expecting that to happen, and long term it\’s probably best if it does not. Like I mentioned last week, it\’s not really necessary. Republicans are all but certain to retake the House. The Club for Growth does the groundwork and breaks all those races down. Remember there the magic number is 39….and you get that almost before you even start looking at Toss-Ups and there are a lot of them. Now the House controls the budget, so they can shut down health care reform and they can prevent further spending orgies by Democrats.
But if they take the majority in the Senate, one thing the Democrats learned is if you have control of both houses of Congress, people expect you to actually do stuff. But with a President Obama, Republicans wouldn\’t be able to accomplish anything and would probably take the brunt of voter reaction in 2012 when we\’ll probably still be dealing with a stagnant economy. Where if Democrats retain control of the Senate, they control two of the three branches and are the establishment in voter eyes. But with a large minority in the Senate and controlling the House, everything stops…. DC becomes the city where nothing ever happens. That\’s a good thing, plus is sets up Republicans to retake the White House and the Senate in 2012.
So those of you anxiously wondering if the Republicans can retake the Senate, the better question you should be asking is, \”Do we really want them to?\”
NOTE : I\’ll update with any major events between now and November 2nd, and perhaps I\’ll put together final predictions the night before. We\’ll see.